Harker has introduced its first school-run shuttle, which will serve those on the Peninsula; 25 students are riding it so far. There has been a parent-run shuttle from Fremont for some years which the Peninsula shuttle will complement, solving, for some families, the knotty issue of driving to drop students, then returning to their home area for work.
The shuttle makes one stop in Portola Valley, one in Los Altos, then heads to the middle school where upper school students transfer to a waiting bus that takes them to their campus, while the shuttle itself continues on to the lower school.
Cost is quite reasonable at $25 per student per week, with discounts for families of three or more riders. Aside from cutting down on pollution and traffic, and saving parents’ time, Pip Sanders (Zoe, grade 4), said, “Running the shuttle expands Harker’s outreach and accessibility to families who live some distance from Harker.”
“I would love to see our ridership increase!” said Heather Perrotta, Harker transportation manager. “Not only does it decrease traffic on our campuses, it gives a sense of bonding to the students. They are able to get to know other students from their neighborhood that they may otherwise not have known. It can also be an opportunity to get some last minute studying done before class.”
Harker is open to expanding the service to other areas, too. “We are hoping that the success of this route will lead to others, and we will be exploring those possibilities over the course of this year using the same market testing methods we did for this one,” said Greg Lawson, assistant head of school for student affairs.
The parent-organized Fremont shuttle has been running for more than 15 years, said Monica Kumar (Gaurav, grade 11; Maya, grade 7), who organizes the shuttle. That bus has had between six and 11 riders this year. “My son is now a junior and he took the shuttle from kindergarten until tenth grade,” when he started driving himself, she said. “My daughter is still taking the shuttle.
“The shuttle saves time for busy parents and makes sure kids get to school safely and on time!” said Kumar. “Of course, it is a greener option as well, as opposed to all the parents driving on their own.”
Cost for the Fremont shuttle, operated by Durham Transportation, is based on a flat fee by the bus company so the current cost depends on the number of riders per day. “The more kids, the less cost per child!” she said.
The Fremont shuttle does return students to Fremont, but the numbers are dropping on the return leg. “The number of kids taking the return bus are much smaller,” noted Kumar. “Each year I keep thinking it will be the last year for (the return service) but we keep going!”